Anonymous postinggreenspun.com : LUSENET : Domestic Violence Accounts : One Thread
I'm posting this on behalf of someone else:
Laguna Pointe Way
Melvyn and I had been on the phone about 15 minutes when I heard what sounded like firecrackers coming from Trina’s house. Trina, Rick and their 2 boys, Bradley and Cody moved in within days of my children and me. The same weekend as Melissa and Steve with their two daughters, Samantha and Jessica. Our houses were small and very closely set, our children were all about the same age, and we shared occasional conversations by our common mailbox stand for almost 5 years. This particular August evening my kids were visiting with their father. They wouldn’t return for 2 more weeks.
During the last several months I had spent less and less time with each of these families, nevertheless, I was surprised to come home from work one day to find both families had moved out of their homes. I regretted having been so busy at work, wishing I had put forth more effort to keep in touch. Two weeks after the move however, I was more surprised to find Steve and Trina living in Trina’s house. It seemed these two had chosen to leave their respective spouses and begin a new life together. It was about 2 weeks into the new living arrangement when I was on the phone with Melvyn.
I heard the pops come from Trina’s house. It was nearly 6:30 p.m. on a beautiful summer evening, the breeze was unusually fresh. I listened to the strange sounds, creating in my mind an image of Bradley and Samantha stepping on the sidewalk to smash small firecrackers. Only these pops were coming from inside their house. Confirming my initial conclusion, I heard Steve in the house saying in a friendly and relatively relaxed voice, “What’s going on man?” Then more pops. I could hear Trina say “Nooooo” with a strange pleading quality in her voice. More pops followed. I told Melvyn to hold on a minute, just as my doorbell began to ring. We hung up, I rushed downstairs to answer the door, and saw 5 year-old Jessica standing before me.
“Please save my daddy. My daddy is dead. Save my daddy. My daddy fell down the stairs” she said with a maturity that somehow made me feel calm. I pulled her inside, gathered 8- year-old Samantha from the front yard, dialed 911 and spoke a few seconds before handing the phone to Jessica. With that I went outside to cross our short lawns and enter the home of Trina and Steve.
The front door was open; Steve was laying face down in a growing pool of blood. It was difficult to move past him without stepping in the red mess. Trina was lying on her side, half way out of the kitchen and half way in front of the sliding glass door. I looked at her and somehow knew she was dead. I went to the steps to begin to go up. But I couldn’t. My feet would carry me only as far as the second step. I experienced something blocking my path.
A steel gray mass presented itself immediately before me. Through it I could feel a cold wind that in my mind I saw as a slightly darker fog trailing up and into the bedroom hall. I looked up the staircase and across the balcony and as I did, it seemed as though the fog grew darker and darker. Coming from Cody and Bradley’s room, I felt something that to me, was like pure evil. The closer it got to the boys’ bedroom, the colder, darker and more sinister the fog seemed.
The evil was so intense, it took my breath away and I couldn’t stand there any longer. There was an overwhelming sensation that seemed to tell me to go back. And so I did.
I knelt beside Steve, listening to him heavily heave air in and out. There was more blood now and I noticed a hole in his temple. The police came running in, guns pointed. I watched the paramedics begin to take over before I left.
Outside the police were blocking off the street. People were crowding our little neighborhood but couldn’t get past the yellow tape to our houses. It took a few hours for Melissa to make it inside my home; the police were helping her emotionally prepare to pick up her children. I remember going back outside to tell a police officer to look for a man fitting Rick’s description. My hypothesizing stopped at that point. I was sitting at my kitchen table when an officer told me they believed they had found Rick lying in the boys’ bed upstairs, next to the bodies of Bradley and Cody. It seemed Rick had shot Steve, Trina, his sons, and then himself.
The police broke a hole through the wooden fence surrounding our yards. A helicopter landed to pick up Cody’s still breathing 5- year-old body. He died a few hours later. Steve was taken by ambulance and died on the way to the hospital. Trina, Bradley, and Rick were dead when the police arrived at the scene.
I sat in my bedroom all night, watching through my window as detectives investigated the scene. They spent the entire night in the neighbor’s house, and as if synchronized, pulled down the garage door, shut the windows and had exited in their cars just minutes before the sun came up and the reporters began knocking on my door. Unlike everything I had heard, these journalists were sensitive and respectful. The police ministry volunteers were equally impressive. They were available, accommodating, and proactive in providing support for myself and the rest of our community. The way in which the journalists reported the incident and the manner in which law enforcement responded increased my own ability to begin the process of healing.
I went to Steve’s funeral. Tears rolled down my face speaking to Jessica. I felt so guilty, as if I should apologize or ask forgiveness for not saving her father’s life. At the same time I felt Trina’s presence and it comforted me.
But it was Steve’s energy that seemed to be with me for many months after the incident. It was at if he were reassuring me, letting me know I did OK. As if he wanted me to know the words I had said to him allowed him to let go. I remember kneeling beside him, stroking his head and back, telling him it would all be OK. I remember trying to reassure him by explaining his girls were safe in my house. Medical staff tell me Steve was brain dead when I arrived, that his breathing was only an automatic response. But, I think he heard me. I saw his expression change when he learned his girls were safe.
Even before the funerals, it became obvious the families of the victims were more interested in expressing hostility towards one another than in learning about the last moments of their loved ones’ lives. I wanted to tell them how peaceful Trina looked, and the struggle Steve fought to stay alive before he decided it was OK to go. But no one ever asked. Instead members of each family asked that I watch the house, call them if anyone came over, and tell anyone who came over to Trina’s house to leave or I would call the police. I succeeded in ignoring these requests.
The day after the murders I saw Trina’s brother-in-law walking around her house. I went outside to talk with him and found a man who, for his wife, wanted to go inside the house and see what damage had occurred. Trina’s sister couldn’t stand to come to the house, but she had stayed up all night wondering about the sequence of events that led to the death of her sister. Her husband was here to find any information he could that would help his wife. He had a key to the front door but couldn’t make himself go inside. I went in instead.
The smell was overwhelming and the room was much different than I had remembered it. The prior day I had run into a house with a living room that appeared almost glowing, the carpet looked white, the walls seemed to go forever, and there was peacefulness in the midst of the violence. But this day, the day after the murders, the carpet looked brown, the walls were beige, and the living room was small. Glass was strewn across the kitchen, suggesting a line of bullets had chased Trina from one side to the other before she fell to the ground. Blood stains were covered by newspaper. I saw the boys’ bed and carpet saturated with their blood, and I was most angry at that moment.
During August of each of the past 2 years, on beautiful evenings, I remember the night these people were murdered. I remember the strange way I felt trying to go upstairs, the brightness of the room, the lack of fear for my own safety. I also remember how often it seemed Steve’s presence was with me. How deep brown were Cody’s eyes, and his thick black lashes. The look on Jessica’s face and the sound of her voice. The blank stare of Samantha as I pulled her in my house. In a strange way I feel I was given a gift by being placed in that house on that evening. No other event has so convincingly shown me that life doesn’t end. I’ve also had to learn to let go of some of my ego, my inherent belief in my own personal supremacy. Steve died. Jessica asked me to save him and I failed. It has taken me a long time to really believe Steve was meant to die on that day at that time, and I was meant to be there to see it. I have felt a power well beyond myself, both a good and an evil presence. The evil was laying in Cody and Bradley’s bed, oozing its way towards anyone who dared get too close. Refusing to relinquish power, obsessed with the need to control, Rick had chosen his own needs rather than those of his family. Instead of letting go and accepting the situation life had presented, Rick had demanded to make the last decision his. Rick, I believe, decided he knew best – not God. And so, he acted. The message I see says, guard against your own pride, ego, and selfishness. Consider obstacles as opportunities for personal growth. Defer to god. And keep faith strong. The logic on that August night would have demanded I not enter Trina’s house, attempt to go upstairs, or stay with Steve as the police stormed in. But logic that evening was wrong. It was these deaths that taught me real life never ends. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn this.
Final Note Trina had obtained a restraining order in an effort to protect herself from Rick. Despite these efforts, Rick was able to purchase the gun he used in the murders. I can’t help wondering if a more communicative, collaborative, protective society would have prevented this tragedy.
-- Anonymous, June 04, 2002
I had tears in my eyes as I read your posting.The tragedy of so much loss at once-and actually hearing the crime committed-must be overwhelming. I too believe that real life never ends. My Mom has seen the ghost of an ancestor of hers more than once-once when she was deathly ill and again one night while she was awake crying for at least two hours...about something rather personal. She also works at a hospital and sees death daily. And from what she says, it sounds an extremely devastating experience to witness death, namely murder. Unfortunately, I've heard of numerous cases in which death results because the proper care wasn't taken to successfully enforce a restraining order. This problem should be addressed as a priority to fix by police everywhere. You never know the true meaning of life until you are faced with death, or witness it as you have. And treasure the fact that you have reached a dying man. I have reached my father. You and the victims of this tragedy are forever in my prayers...
-- Anonymous, June 07, 2002
Well, maybe if Trina had had her own gun and blown Rick's sorry ass away, the tragedy would have been averted. This isn't exactly "a more communicative, collaborative, protective society" solution -- but it's better than the illogic of Jade and dead women and children who don't get the message - the Ricks of the world are sick assholes; the cops don't care effectively; when you're on your own against a sick asshole, you buy a gun.
-- Anonymous, August 18, 2002
Annone, that posting was uncalled for. You should feel ashamed for minimizing the situation so deeply. How are you to know Trina didn't have a gun? If someone approaches you with a gun, someone who should have been kept off your property on restraining order, while you are in the kitchen minding your own business, do you reach for the gun you may keep in your cupboard and get shot anyway? Two children and two other innocent people were murdered in this situation and you go so far as to say:'when you're on your own against a sick asshole, you buy a gun'.
By saying this, you suggest that by owning a gun you are safe against anything, or anyone. Attacks by gun don't usually occur that give you enough time to run upstairs to your bedroom for the gun you keep there. And what if you should be attacked in your sleep?
Just because it may seem that simple to you does not make it that simple in what is known as...REALITY. You should take a minute, maybe half an hour or so, to think about what reality really is. Is it always what YOU think it should be? Or is it actually reality? Reality isn't solved by a gun...
-- Anonymous, August 18, 2002
My goodness. What a sad story. I am moved by Jades strength. I am disturbed by anon.'s reply and I totally conquer with Janice. The reality is,just that , reality. I hope that one day, the system will work better to protect those who get restraining orders. But until then, I think it points seriously to keeping ourselves and our families safe anyway that we can. Support groups like this one may have helped to prevent this trajedy if only she had been able to turn to it in time. Having been in an abusive relationship myself, I know how secretive people are about being a victem. It seems strange to me even now that we hide it from those that would help us. So wave the flag high and shout it loud to all! "You dont have to take it, you dont have to be ashamed, just come to us and be SAFE! " A.B.
-- Anonymous, August 28, 2002
The story is not mine. I posted it for someone else, who is anonymous. :)
-- Anonymous, December 03, 2002